NationalPress Room

NEMA Urges States To Empower Their Emergency Agencies

In the face of unpredictability and occurrences of natural and man-made disaster, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has urged states in Nigeria to enact laws to empower their respective states emergency management agencies (SEMAs) as provided in the enabling laws of the federation. 

The Director General of the Agency AVM Mohammed Audu-Bida (rtd) made the call in Abuja at a meeting with zonal coordinators to assess the state of preparedness of states in preventing and responding to disasters. He said the establishment of the SEMAs has become necessary to ensure greater commitment of the states governments to disaster management in the country. 
The Director General also observed that some of the few states that have established their emergency agencies are either yet to appoint the chief executives for the agencies or make them fully functional with offices and relevant staffs. 
Audu-Bida said while the federal government has been making efforts through NEMA to promote disaster resilience in the country, the states must also be actively involved to achieve the desired objectives. The SEMAs are required to response to disasters within the capacity of the states and request for federal assistance only in overwhelming circumstances. 
Audu-Bida said the role of governors is not isolated. Disaster management in Nigeria is a three-tier thing. NEMA is at the apex which is at the national level. There is supposed to be at the state levels the states Emergency Management Agencies (SEMAs). Some states do have them, some are yet to put them in places. 
The NEMA Establishment ACT recognizes the establishment of SEMAs by the states. State Governors are supposed to make sure that they establish their SEMAs to ensure the tripartite function of NEMA. The State Governors or deputies are supposed to chair the SEMAs. It is the states that fund their own agencies. This is not a voluntary service but stipulated in the Act establishing NEMA. 
AVM Audu-Bida said already NEMA has set a target to train about 20 per cent of the Nigerian population in basic disaster management skills through its Grassroots Emergency Volunteer programme at the local government councils and Emergency Management Vanguards in collaboration with the National Youths Service Corps. 
Reviewing the success of the grassroots programme which is being implemented at the local government areas, he said the sustainability would require active commitments of the States and Local Governments to mobilize and train the people at the communities. 
He thanked the management of NYSC for cooperating with NEMA in the training of the youth corps members to become emergency volunteers in carrying the message of disaster management to communities in their various locations of primary assignments across the country.
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NEMA Nigeria

All correspondences should be addressed to: Public Relations Division, National Emergency Management Agency, No. 8, Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent Maitama, Abuja Email: nemapress@yahoo.com or info@nema.gov.ng

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